Israeli startup Gauzy has invented smart glass that goes from transparent to opaque with nothing more than a touch. Based on liquid crystal technology used in LCD screens, this revolutionary new product has great eco potential.
Founded in 2009 by CEO Eyal Peso and CTO Adrian Lofer, who worked together at Alvarion, Gauzy aims to revolutionize the glass industry by introducing products that can control how much light passes through.
Simply by operating a simple control panel, a home owner can potentially change the opacity of a pane of glass that is getting too hot in the heat of the day – from transparent to opaque. Or the other way around. On cloudy, cool days, keeping glass transparent takes advantage of passive solar gain to warm up a room, and reduce the need for mechanical intervention.
Electrical currents can also be used to add patterns to the glass, or even advertisements, though who needs more of those in their lives.
Such a product has numerous applications. While it seems immediately valuable for big developers, who can achieve new environmental gains by incorporating smart glass into their urban building projects, Gauzy has applied the technology in a few less obvious ways as well.
For example, they are developing a refrigerator with a glass door that is opaque most of the time. Then, instead of opening the door to see what is inside the fridge (pretty much all of us do this, right?), which results in energy loss, users can simply touch a button and the glass will become transparent and reveal the fridge’s contents.
Gauzy is also working with an elevator company, and predict that the current price of $1,000 to $1,500 per square meter of glass will eventually shrink in the future such that even home owners can purchase the technology for their houses.
Also, the auto industry can use the technology to control how much light and thermal energy enters cars, which are veritable hot boxes in the summertime. In this case, Gauzy might face obstacles, since the technology may be considered akin to tinting, which is not always legal.
Sollange Investments from the UK has just committed $4 million to the startup, which plans to double their workforce from 10-20, according to Ha’aretz, and build a laboratory in which they will develop and manufacture the liquid crystal in Israel.
Peso told the paper that theirs will be the first such facility outside of Asia, where Samsung and LG have dominated the smart glass market thus far.